The summer sun is shining down on the Valley, and for those of you who regularly venture outdoors, or even walk to your car in the parking lot, being prepared for sun exposure is important in preventing skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, and as people are living longer, this statistic is only growing.
If you are caring for an older loved one, ensuring their safety while outdoors in the sun is an important part of your role as a caregiver. There are many ways you can protect yourself and the person you care for from harmful UVB and UVA rays:
- Regularly use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, indicates how protective a sunscreen is against the effects of the sun. If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to turn red, a SPF 15 sunscreen will prevent reddening 15 time longer — about five hours. SPF 15 blocks around 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside, every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Cover up with clothing, hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- See your physician every year for a professional exam. They may see things you would miss when looking over your skin yourself.
If you are headed outside, consider getting out early in the day, when the sun is not yet at its brightest. Also, you can keep your loved ones active without going out in the sun by taking a walk indoors at the mall. Remember, you are your aging loved one’s advocate, so make sure you take the necessary precautions when going out in the sun this summer.